Painting by Kevin Cooper, an innocent man on San Quentin's death row. www.freekevincooper.org

Decarcerate Louisiana

Declaration of Undersigned Prisoners 
We, the undersigned persons, committed to the care and custody of the Louisiana Department of Corrections (LDOC), hereby submit the following declaration and petition bearing witness to inhumane conditions of solitary confinement in the N-1 building at the David Wade Corrections Center (DWCC). 
Our Complaint:
We, the Undersigned Persons, declare under penalty of perjury: 
1.    We, the undersigned, are currently housed in the N-1 building at DWCC, 670 Bell Hill Road, Homer, LA 71040. 
2.    We are aware that the Constitution, under the 8th Amendment, bans cruel and unusual punishments; the Amendment also imposes duties on prison officials who must provide humane conditions of confinement and ensure that inmates receive adequate food, clothing, shelter, medical care, and must take reasonable measures to guarantee the safety of the inmates. 
3.    We are aware that Louisiana prison officials have sworn by LSA-R.S.15:828 to provide humane treatment and rehabilitation to persons committed to its care and to direct efforts to return every person in its custody to the community as promptly as practicable. 
4.    We are confined in a double-bunked six-by-nine foot or 54 square feet cell with another human being 22-hours-a-day and are compelled to endure the degrading experience of being in close proximity of another human being while defecating. 
5.    There are no educational or rehabilitation programs for the majority of prisoners confined in the N-1 building except for a selected few inmates who are soon to be released. 
6.    We get one hour and 30 minutes on the yard and/or gym seven days a week. Each day we walk to the kitchen for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, which takes about one minute to get there. We are given ten minutes to eat. 
7.    The daily planner for inmates confined in the N-1 building is to provide inmates one hour and 30 minutes on yard or gym; escort inmates to kitchen for breakfast, lunch, and dinner to sit and eat for approximately ten minutes each meal; provide a ten minute shower for each cell every day; provide one ten minute phone call per week; confine prisoners in cell 22-hours-a-day. 
8.    When we are taking a shower we are threatened by guards with disciplinary reports if we are not out on time. A typical order is: "if you are not out of shower in ten minutes pack your shit and I'm sending you back to N-2, N-3, or N-4"—a more punitive form of solitary confinement. 
9.    When walking outside to yard, gym or kitchen, guards order us to put our hands behind our back or they'll write us up and send us back to N-2, N-3, N-4. 
10.  When we are sitting at the table eating, guards order us not to talk or they'll write us up and send us back to N-2, N-3, N-4. ) 
11.  Guards are harassing us every day and are threatening to write up disciplinary reports and send us back to a more punitive cellblock (N-2, N-3, N-4) if we question any arbitrary use of authority or even voice an opinion in opposition to the status quo. Also, guards take away good time credits, phone, TV, radio, canteen, and contact visits for talking too loud or not having hands behind back or for any reason they want. We are also threatened with slave labor discipline including isolation (removing mattress from cell from 5:00 A.M. to 9:00 P.M.,) strip cell (removing mattress and bedding and stationery from cell for ten to 30 days or longer), food loaf  (taking one's meal for breakfast, lunch, or dinner and mixing it all together into one big mass, bake it in oven and serve it to prisoners for punishment.)
12.  When prison guards write up disciplinary reports and transfer us to the more punitive restrictive solitary confinement in N-2, N-3, N-4 or N-5, guards then enforce an arbitrary rule that gives prisoners the ultimatum of sending all their books and personal property home or let the prison dispose of it. 
13.  Louisiana prison officials charge indigent prisoners (who earn less than four cents an hour) $3.00 for routine requests for healthcare services, $6.00 for emergency medical requests, and $2.00 for each new medical prescription. They wait until our family and friends send us money and take it to pay prisoners' medical bills. 
Our concerns:
14.  How much public monies are appropriated to the LDOC budget and specifically allotted to provide humane treatment and implement the rehabilitation program pursuant to LSA- R.S.15:828? 
15.  Why does Elayn Hunt Correctional Center located in the capitol of Louisiana have so many educational and rehabilitation programs teaching prisoners job and life skills for reentry whereas there are no such programs to engage the majority of prisoners confined in the N-1, N- 2, N-3, and N-4 solitary confinement buildings at DWCC. 
16.  It is customary for Louisiana prison officials and DWCC prison guards to tell inmates confined in the prison's cellblocks to wait until transfer to prison dormitory to participate in programs when in fact there are no such programs available and ready to engage the majority of the state's 34,000 prisoner population. The programs are especially needed for prisoners confined in a six-by-nine foot or 54 square feet cell with another person for 22-or-more-hours-per-day. 
17.  Why can't prisoners use phone and computers every day to communicate with family and peers as part of rehabilitation and staying connected to the community? 
18.  Why do prisoners have to be transferred miles and miles away from loved ones to remote correctional facilities when there are facilities closer to loved ones? 
19.  Why are prison guards allowed to treat prisoners as chattel slaves, confined in cages 22-or-more-hours-per-day, take away phone calls and visitation and canteen at will, and take away earned good time credits for any reason at all without input from family, one's peers and community? 
20.  Why do the outside communities allow prison guards to create hostile living environments and conditions of confinement that leaves prisoners in a state of chattel slavery, stress, anxiety, anger, rage, inner torment, despair, worry, and in a worse condition from when we first entered the prison? 
21.  Why do state governments and/or peers in the community allow racist or bigoted white families who reside in the rural and country parts of Louisiana to run the state's corrections system with impunity? For example, DWCC Warden Jerry Goodwin institutes racist and bigoted corrections policies and practices for the very purpose of oppression, repression, antagonizing and dehumanizing the inmates who will one day be released from prison. 
22.  David Wade Correctional Center Colonel Lonnie Nail, a bigot and a racist, takes his orders from Warden Jerry Goodwin, another racist and bigot. Both Goodwin and Nail influences subordinate corrections officers to act toward prisoners in a racist or bigoted manner and with an arrogant attitude. This creates a hostile living environment and debilitating conditions of confinement for both guards and prisoners and prevents rehabilitation of inmates.
23.  In other industrialized democracies like Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands, et al, it is reported that no prisoner should be declared beyond reform or redemption without first attempting to rehabilitate them. Punitive or harsh conditions of confinement are not supported because they see the loss of freedom inherent in a prison sentence as punishment enough. One Netherlands official reported that their motto is to start with the idea of "Reintegration back into society on day one" when people are locked up. "You can't make an honest argument that how someone is treated while incarcerated doesn't affect how they behave when they get out," the official added. 
24.  Additionally, some Scandinavian countries have adopted open prison programs without fences or armed guards. Prisoners who prove by their conduct that they can be trusted are placed in a prison resembling a college campus more than a prison. The result is a 20 percent recidivism rate, compared to a 67 percent rate in the United States. 
25.  The National Commission on Correctional Health Care (NCCHC) in a position statement says: "Prolonged (greater than 15 consecutive days) solitary confinement is cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment, and harmful to an individual's health."
 What We Believe: 
26.  We believe that when the greater portion of public monies goes to war and the military, this leaves little funds left for community reinvestment and human development.The people have less access to resources by which to get a better idea of human behavior and rely on higher education instead of prison to solve cultural, social, political, economic problems in the system that may put people at risk to domestic violence and crime as a way to survive and cope with shortcomings in the system. 
27.  We believe that investing public monies in the rehabilitation program LSA-R.S.15:828 to teach prisoners job and life skills will redeem inmates, instill morals, and make incarcerated people productive and fit for society. 
28.  We believe that confining inmates in cellblocks 15-or-more=hours-per-day is immoral, uncivilized, brutalizing, a waste of time and counter-productive to rehabilitation and society's goals of "promoting the general welfare" and "providing a more perfect union with justice for all." 
29.  We believe that corrections officers who prove by their actions that incarcerated people are nothing more than chattel slaves are bucking the laws and creating hardening criminals and these corrections officers are, therefore, a menace to society. 
Our Demands:
30.  We are demanding a public conversation from community activists and civil rights leaders about (1) the historic relationship between chattel slavery, the retaliatory assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, and the resurrection of slavery written into the 13th Amendment; (2) the historic relationship between the 13th Amendment, the backlash against Reconstruction, Peonage, Convict Leasing, and Slavery; (3) the historic relationship between the 13th Amendment, the War Against Poverty, the War on Drugs, Criminal Justice and Prison Slavery. 
31.  We demand that the Louisiana legislature pass the Decarcerate Louisiana Anti-Slavery and Freedom Liberation Act of 2020 into law and end prison slavery and the warehousing of incarcerated people for the very purpose of repression, oppression, and using prisoners and their families and supporters as a profit center for corporate exploitation and to generate revenue to balance the budget and stimulate the state economy. 
32.  We are demanding that Warden Jerry Goodwin and Colonel Lonnie Nail step down and be replaced by people are deemed excellent public servants in good standing with human rights watchdog groups and civil rights community. 
33.  We are demanding that the LDOC provide public monies to operate state prison dormitories and cellblocks as rehabilitation centers to teach incarcerated people job and life skills five-days-a-week from 7:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. 
34.  We are demanding that the LDOC release a public statement announcing that "from this day forward it will not support punitive or harsh conditions of confinement," and that "no prisoner should be declared beyond reform or redemption without first attempting to rehabilitate them."
35.  We are demanding that the prison cellblocks be operated as open dormitories (made in part a health clinic and part college campus) so that incarcerated people can have enough space to walk around and socialize, participate in class studies, exercise, use telephone as the need arise. Prisoners are already punished by incarceration so there is no need to punish or further isolate them. Racism and abuse of power will not be tolerated. 
36.  We are demanding an end to unjust policies and practices that impose punishments and deprive incarcerated people of phone calls, visitation, canteen, good time credits, books and other personal property that pose no threat to public safety. 
37.  We are demanding that LDOC provide incarcerated people cellphones and computers to communicate with the public and stay connected to the community. 
38.  We are demanding the right to communicate with reporters to aid and assist incarcerated persons in preparing a press release to communicate to the public Decarcerate Louisiana's vision and mission statements, aims, and plans for moving forward. 
39.  We are demanding the right to participate in the U.S.-European Criminal Justice Innovation Project and share our complaint, concerns, and demands for a humane corrections program. 
40.  We are only demanding the right to enough space to create, to innovate, to excel in learning, to use scientific knowledge to improve our person and place and standing in the free world. The rule of law must support the betterment and uplifting of all humanity. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said: "injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." 
41.  We demand that the responsibility for prisoner medical care be removed from DOC wardens and place it under the management of the state's health office; increase state health officer staff to better monitor prisoner healthcare and oversee vendor contracts. 
42.  We have a God-given right and responsibility to resist abuse of power from the wrongdoers, to confront unjust authority and oppression, to battle for justice until we achieve our demands for liberation and freedom. 
We, the undersigned, declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct. 
Executed on this 28th Day of January 2019. 
Ronald Brooks #385964 
David Johnson #84970 
Freddie Williams #598701 
Earl Hollins #729041 
James Harris #399514 
Tyrone Carter #550354 
Kerry Carter #392013 
Ivo Richardson #317371 
Rondrikus Fulton #354313 
Kentell Simmons #601717 
Jayvonte Pines #470985 
Deandre Miles #629008 
Kenneth P. #340729 
Brandon Ceaser #421453 
Tyronne Ward #330964 
Jermaine Atkins #448421 
Charles Rodgers #320513 
Steve Givens #557854 
Timothy Alfred #502378 
—wsimg.com, January 2019



ANSWER Coalition

Venezuelan Embassy stands strong

Activist-tenants vow to resist illegal eviction

Embassy is owned by Government of Venezuela and protected by international law
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People from all over the United States came to Washington, D.C. and joined together last night at the Venezuelan Embassy in a powerful demonstration of solidarity with the people of Venezuela. While banners were hung from outside the windows of the Embassy, people held a night of political education and tactical discussions. The ongoing Embassy Protection Collective continues to prevent the U.S. government from illegally seizing the Embassy of Venezuela in Washington, D.C.
The Embassy building, located in Georgetown, is owned by the Venezuelan government and is a protected international compound by the Vienna Conventions. Progressive activists have been working and living inside the Embassy as invited guests for weeks.
The Embassy Protection Collective was initiated by CODEPINK and Popular Resistance, and the ANSWER Coalition has been mobilizing support for this effort in Washington and around the country. Many ANSWER volunteers and organizers are inside the Embassy.
"The people inside this Embassy are here at the invitation of its lawful owner, the Government of Venezuela," said ANSWER's National Director Brian Becker. "The Trump administration is acting as the world's number one international pirate as it seizes Venezuelan assets, properties and diplomatic compounds. In pure colonial fashion, U.S. and European entities have grabbed hold of Venezuela's oil revenue, gold reserves and bank accounts — while openly championing the Monroe Doctrine. We are joining with the people of the world to declare that the days of the Monroe Doctrine are over."
Becker continued, "Any action to evict the Embassy's current tenant guests by the MPD, Secret Service or other police agencies would be an illegal and unlawful arrest under both D.C. and international law. What we are doing here in this Embassy is not an act of civil disobedience. International law and D.C. law are on our side. The violator of these laws — the criminal in this case — is none other than the Trump White House and the U.S. State Department."
A letter was sent last night from the Embassy Protection Collective, with the assistance of lawyer Mara Verheyden-Hilliard of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, to the U.S. State Department: 
Members of the Embassy Protection Collective are writing to make it expressly clear and ensure all personnel are put on notice that any arrest of persons inside the embassy would constitute an unlawful arrest. We understand from our communications with your office that you are threatening to arrest persons inside the Venezuelan embassy.
Not only are we here at the invitation of persons lawfully in charge of the premises but we are also here as people with lawful rights under Washington, DC tenancy law.
It is our intention to hold responsible any person who orders or effectuates any unlawful actions against us.
We have received no eviction notice and due process opportunity to challenge any attempted eviction as is required by law.
[VIDEO: Eyewitness Venezuela Webinar. If you missed Saturday's informative webinar with anti-war leaders and journalists, or want to re-watch it, the whole thing has been posted here. Please share with friends and family to get out the truth about Venezuela!]
Please make a donation to support the anti-war movement's ongoing work to stop the Trump administration's regime change effort against Venezuela.
Here is the address to the Venezuelan Embassy:
Embassy of Venezuela
1099 30th St NW
Washington, DC 20007
United States
Google map and directions

ANSWER Coalition
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New Prison and Jail Population Figures Released by U.S. Department of Justice

By yearend 2017, the United States prison population had declined by 7.3% since reaching its peak level in 2009, according to new data released by the Department of Justice. The prison population decreases are heavily influenced by a handful of states that have reduced their populations by 30% or more in recent years. However, as of yearend 2017 more than half the states were still experiencing increases in their populations or rates of decline only in the single digits. 
Analysis of the new data by The Sentencing Project reveals that: 
  • The United States remains as the world leader in its rate of incarceration, locking up its citizens at 5-10 times the rate of other industrialized nations. At the current rate of decline it will take 75 years to cut the prison population by 50%.
  • The population serving life sentences is now at a record high. One of every seven individuals in prison – 206,000 – is serving life.
  • Six states have reduced their prison populations by at least 30% over the past two decades – Alaska, Connecticut, California, New Jersey, New York, and Vermont.  
  • The rate of women's incarceration has been rising at a faster rate than men's since the 1980s, and declines in recent years have been slower than among men.
  • Racial disparities in women's incarceration have changed dramatically since the start of the century. Black women were incarcerated at 6 times the rate of white women in 2000, while the 2017 figure is now 1.8 times that rate. These changes have been a function of both a declining number of black women in prison and a rising number of white women. For Hispanic women, the ratio has changed from 1.6 times that of white women in 2000 to 1.4 times in 2017. 
The declines in prison and jail populations reported by the Department of Justice today are encouraging, but still fall far short of what is necessary for meaningful criminal justice reform. In order to take the next step in ending mass incarceration policymakers will need to scale back excessive sentencing for all offenses, a key factor which distinguishes the U.S. from other nations. 

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[Note: China's population is 1,419,147,756* as of April 26, 2019 with 1,649,804 in prison***; while the population of the USA is 328,792,291 as of April 27, 2019** with 2,121,600 in prison.*** 



"This is a people's victory"  Pam Africa.

Who would ever think that we would see this headline, in our lifetime.  This is the press release up on the Philadelphia District Attorney's website posted minutes ago.

The path to freedom is going to be hard and long, but we are on it.  When We Fight, We Win,
Noelle Hanrahan, P.I. Prison Radio

Mumia Abu-Jamal

See below: 

Statement: Philadelphia District Attorney's Office withdraws appeal in Mumia Abu-Jamal case 

Contact: Ben Waxman
PHILADELPHIA (April 17th, 2019) — Today the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office withdrew its recent appeal of an opinion granting a re-hearing of some previously decided issues in the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. We withdrew the appeal because the opinion we appealed has been modified consistent with our primary concern — -that ruling's effect on many other cases.
By way of background, Mumia Abu-Jamal was convicted of the murder of a young police officer, Daniel Faulkner, that occurred on December 9, 1981. Even after Maureen Faulkner, the wife of the victim, chose not to continue seeking the death penalty several years ago in hopes of closure, the case has evoked polarizing rhetoric and continues to assume a symbolic importance for many that is distinct from the factual and often technical legal issues involved in the case.
The technical issue at stake here is simply whether or not some decided issues need to be re-heard by a Pennsylvania appellate court due to one former judge's having worn two hats — -the hat of an apparently impartial appellate judge deciding Abu-Jamal's case after he earlier wore the hat of a chief prosecutor in the same case. Although the issue is technical, it is also an important cautionary tale on the systemic problems that flow from a judge's failing to recuse where there is an appearance of bias.
Justice Castille did not recuse himself before deciding appeals in the Abu-Jamal case and several others, including the Williams case. In the Williams case, the United States Supreme Court decided that Castille should have recused himself because of the role he took as a chief prosecutor in Mr. Williams's matter. The U.S. Supreme Court ordered that Mr. Williams's appeal be re-heard by the Pennsylvania appeals judges, without the taint of Castille's participation.
A similar question of Castille's role exists in the Abu-Jamal case. In order to help resolve it, our Office exhaustively searched hundreds of file boxes in relation to the Mumia Abu-Jamal matter, including six previously undisclosed boxes (now turned over to the defense, as required by law). While we did not find any document establishing the same level of involvement by Castille in the Abu-Jamal case as in the Williams case, we did find (and turned over) a June, 1990 letter from then-District Attorney Castille to then-Governor Robert Casey, urging that the Governor issue death warrants, especially in cases involving people who have killed police, in order to "send a clear and dramatic message to all police killers that the death penalty actually means something." Although the letter does not mention Mr. Abu-Jamal or his case by name, at the time Justice Castille wrote to Governor Casey, there were only three cases involving people who had been convicted of killing police that were pending. One was Mr. Abu-Jamal's.
In the end, the trial-level judge considering this issue wrote an opinion that agreed with us that these indications of strong feelings on the part of Justice Castille did not rise to the level of the direct and active involvement Justice Castille took in the Williams case but went further, deciding there should be a re-hearing of Abu-Jamal's decided issues anyway, based on more general principles of judges needing to recuse to avoid the appearance of bias.
We appealed, making it extremely clear in our court papers that our primary concern was with the overly broad language of the opinion and its potentially devastating effect on hundreds of long settled cases, decades after their cases were resolved, including its hurtful effect on victims and survivors. We highlighted our concern with the overly broad language of that opinion in five specific respects and specifically noted that we would re-consider appealing if the trial-level court issued another decision addressing the concerns we raised.
Although the judge was not required to do so, on March 27 he issued another decision that addressed the concerns we raised. The judge made clear that his opinion should not be read to mean that several hundreds of cases were disturbed — -it should be applied only to people convicted of killing police officers whose cases were in the District Attorney's Office while Castille was District Attorney (the category of cases Castille highlighted in his June 1990 letter to Casey). Given that the trial-level court has now addressed the concerns that led us to appeal in the first place, we have withdrawn the appeal.
Our decision to withdraw the appeal does not mean Mr. Abu-Jamal will be freed or get a new trial. It means that he will have the appeals that Justice Castille participated in deciding reconsidered by a new group of appellate court judges, untainted by former Chief Justice Castille participating in their decision. The trial-level judge has ordered the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office and the defense to re-submit the legal briefs done in the past (which were written under prior administrations), effectively setting the clock back to where it was in the past.
The result will be that long-settled convictions in other cases will not be disturbed and that decisions made by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on the legal issues raised decades ago in the Abu-Jamal matter will no longer be tainted by the appearance of bias.  ===========end press release====================
Cuando luchamos, ganamos. When We fight, we win. 

Noelle Hanrahan
Director, Prison Radio
To give by check: 
PO Box 411074
San Francisco, CA

Stock or legacy gifts:
Noelle Hanrahan



Funds for Kevin Cooper


For 34 years, an innocent man has been on death row in California. 

Kevin Cooper was wrongfully convicted of the brutal 1983 murders of the Ryen family and houseguest. The case has a long history of police and prosecutorial misconduct, evidence tampering, and numerous constitutional violations including many incidences of the prosecution withholding evidence of innocence from the defense. You can learn more here . 

In December 2018 Gov. Brown ordered  limited DNA testing and in February 2019, Gov. Newsom ordered additional DNA testing. Meanwhile, Kevin remains on Death Row at San Quentin Prison. 

The funds raised will be used to help Kevin purchase art supplies for his paintings . Additionally, being in prison is expensive, and this money would help Kevin pay for stamps, paper, toiletries, supplementary food, and/or phone calls.

Please help ease the daily struggle of an innocent man on death row!



Don't extradite Assange!

To the government of the UK
Julian Assange, through Wikileaks, has done the world a great service in documenting American war crimes, its spying on allies and other dirty secrets of the world's most powerful regimes, organisations and corporations. This has not endeared him to the American deep state. Both Obama, Clinton and Trump have declared that arresting Julian Assange should be a priority. We have recently received confirmation [1] that he has been charged in secret so as to have him extradited to the USA as soon as he can be arrested. 
Assange's persecution, the persecution of a publisher for publishing information [2] that was truthful and clearly in the interest of the public - and which has been republished in major newspapers around the world - is a danger to freedom of the press everywhere, especially as the USA is asserting a right to arrest and try a non-American who neither is nor was then on American soil. The sentence is already clear: if not the death penalty then life in a supermax prison and ill treatment like Chelsea Manning. The very extradition of Julian Assange to the United States would at the same time mean the final death of freedom of the press in the West. 
The courageous nation of Ecuador has offered Assange political asylum within its London embassy for several years until now. However, under pressure by the USA, the new government has made it clear that they want to drive Assange out of the embassy and into the arms of the waiting police as soon as possible. They have already curtailed his internet and his visitors and turned the heating off, leaving him freezing in a desolate state for the past few months and leading to the rapid decline of his health, breaching UK obligations under the European Convention of Human Rights. Therefore, our demand both to the government of Ecuador and the government of the UK is: don't extradite Assange to the US! Guarantee his human rights, make his stay at the embassy as bearable as possible and enable him to leave the embassy towards a secure country as soon as there are guarantees not to arrest and extradite him. Furthermore, we, as EU voters, encourage European nations to take proactive steps to protect a journalist in danger. The world is still watching.
[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/16/us/politics/julian-assange-indictment-wikileaks.html
[2] https://theintercept.com/2018/11/16/as-the-obama-doj-concluded-prosecution-of-julian-assange-for-publishing-documents-poses-grave-threats-to-press-freedom/



Chelsea Manning denied release from jail

chelsea manning
Yesterday, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled to keep Chelsea Manning jailed for contempt of court. Chelsea has been jailed since March 8th for refusing to collaborate with the grand jury investigating Julian Assange of WikiLeaks. "While disappointing, we can still raise issues as the government continues to abuse the grand jury process. I don't have anything to contribute to this, or any other grand jury. While I miss home, they can continue to hold me in jail, with all the harmful consequences that brings. I will not give up. Thank you all so very much for your love and solidarity through letters and contributions," shared Chelsea. She faces another 16.5 months in jail. Donate to Chelsea's legal defense here. Write her a letter at: Chelsea Elizabeth Manning, A0181426, William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center, 2001 Mill Road, Alexandria, VA 22314.

484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland, California 94610 ~ 510-488-3559
www.couragetoresist.org ~ facebook.com/couragetoresist



How to buy a gun in the U.S. and New Zeland:

New Zealand to Ban Military-Style Semiautomatic Guns, Jacinda Ardern Says
By Damien Cave and Charlotte Graham-McLay, March 20, 2019













Courage to Resist
free chelsea manning
Free Chelsea Manning (again)!
U.S. Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning has been sent back to jail after refusing to answer questions before a grand jury investigating WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange. She could be jailed for up to 18 months this time.
As she was being taken back into custody on March 8th, she declared, "I will not participate in a secret process that I morally object to, particularly one that has been historically used to entrap and persecute activists for protected political speech."  Here's how to offer your support.

randy rowland
Podcast: Randy Rowland, GI resister
"I was the reluctant guy who's bit by bit by bit, just had to face the facts that things weren't the way I had been raised to believe that they were. It wasn't like I planned to be a resister or a troublemaker or anything of the sort," explains Randy Rowland, an organizer of the "Presidio 27 Mutiny."
This Courage to Resist podcast is the first in series to be produced in collaboration with the Vietnam Full Disclosure effort of Veterans for Peace — "Towards an honest commemoration of the American war in Vietnam." This year marks 50 years of GI resistance, in and out of uniform, for many of the courageous
individuals featured. Listen to Randy's story here.

ctr video
We shared our new 75 second promotional video on Facebook this week. Yes, FB is kind of evil, but we still reach a lot of folks that way. Please check it out, share with friends, and "like" our FB page.
ctr video
During Sunday's Objector Church online meetup, James Branum discussed the heroism of US Army Master Sergeant Roddie Edmonds (1919–1985). MSgt Edmonds was the ranking US NCO at the Stalag IX-A POW Camp when he was captured in Germany during WWII. At the risk of his life, he prevented an estimated 200 Jews from being singled out from the camp for Nazi persecution and likely death. Watch the video here.
484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland, California 94610 ~ 510-488-3559
www.couragetoresist.org ~ facebook.com/couragetoresist


Statement: Academic Institutions Must Defend Free Speech

The International Committee for Peace, Justice and Dignity issued the following statement on 23 December, signed by 155 distinguished academics and human rights advocates.

Petition Text

Statement issued by the International Committee for Peace, Justice and Dignity:
We, the undersigned, oppose the coordinated campaign to deny academics their free speech rights due to their defense of Palestinian rights and criticism of the policies and practices of the state of Israel. Temple University in Philadelphia, USA and the University of Sydney, Australia have been under great pressure to fire, respectively, Marc Lamont Hill and Tim Anderson, both senior academics at their institutions, for these reasons. Steven Salaita and Norman Finkelstein have already had their careers destroyed by such attacks. Hatem Bazian, Ahlam Muhtaseb, William Robinson, Rabab Abdulhadi and others have also been threatened.
The ostensible justification for such action is commonly known as the "Palestinian exception" to the principle of free speech. One may freely criticize and disrespect governments – including one's own – religions, political beliefs, personal appearance and nearly everything else except the actions and policies of the state of Israel. Those who dare to do so will become the focus of well-financed and professionally run campaigns to silence and/or destroy them and their careers.
We recognize that much of the free speech that occurs in academic and other environments will offend some individuals and groups. However, as has been said many times before, the answer to free speech that some may find objectionable is more free speech, not less. We therefore call upon all academic institutions, their faculty and students, as well as the public at large, to resist such bullying tactics and defend the free speech principles upon which they and all free societies and their institutions are founded.



Updates from the Committee to Stop FBI Repression

Justice for Rasmea Odeh! Justice for Palestine!

The Committee to Stop FBI Repression strongly supports Rasmea Odeh's right to speak in Berlin about the Palestinian liberation struggle. We stand with the many other organizations who condemn the German, Israeli, and U.S. governments' attacks on Rasmea and their attempts to silence her by revoking her visa and prohibiting her from political activity (see article about the March 15 incident).

The actions of these governments blatantly reflect their racist anti-Palestinian and anti-Muslim views. But we want to draw attention to the underlying reason for their targeting of Rasmea. The attack on her right to speak is deeply tied to U.S. and German support for the Israeli apartheid and settler colonialism in Palestine. Moreover, the attack on Rasmea reflects these countries' imperialist strategies for control of the Middle East. By the same token, these governments are clearly acting out of fear - fear that when Palestinian women and activists like Rasmea speak up, it chips away at such countries' grasp on Palestine and the surrounding region.

The attacks on Rasmea and Palestine also relate to political repression taking place across the globe. Germany, the U.S. and Israel are attempting to silence Rasmea for the same fundamental reasons that the Duterte government has murdered and attacked activists and human rights defenders in the Philippines; that the U.S. government is trying to forcibly install a new government in Venezuela; and that the NYPD's Strategic Response Group is surveilling and harassing leaders and activists in the Black Lives Matter movement. The imperialists who are in power are clearly afraid that people like Rasmea might inspire others to rise up and fight back against the racist and oppressive system in place.

We want to send a message to these imperialist powers, to say that fighting back is exactly what we plan to do. It is imperative that we fight back against this unjust system that tries to silence Palestinian women like Rasmea. We demand that Rasmea Odeh be permitted to speak in Germany, and we demand an end to state repression against all Muslim women, and all Palestinians who have boldly raised their voices against the imperialist and colonialist powers that are oppressing people across the world.

Activists are not terrorists! We stand in solidarity with Rasmea and all Palestinian people in their struggle for liberation.

-- NYC Committee to Stop FBI Repression

Copyright © 2019 Committee to Stop FBI Repression, All rights reserved.
Thanks for your ongoing interest in the fight against FBI repression of anti-war and international solidarity activists!

Our mailing address is:
Committee to Stop FBI Repression
PO Box 14183
MinneapolisMN  55414

Add us to your address book



Racism-Antiracism Board Game 
Dear Friends,                                                                   May 1, 2019
                       I have just produced this game. Race for Solidarityit is now available   at:  https://www.thegamecrafter.com/ .   An exciting board game of chance, empathy and wisdom, that entertains and educates as it builds solidarity through learning about the destructive history of American racism and those who have always fought back.   I  had hoped the game would be less expensive and  have done all I could to lower the price by taking the minimum of $1 for each game sold,  to be spent on promotion and publicity.  The price could be reduced by $10, but would sacrifice the historical richness of the over 200 cards.
                       Would you be so kind as to send this message to your friends via, E mail, Facebook etc?  Those in the field of education could be very interested.   If you have any suggestions on ways to help me promote this game please let me know.  Thank you.
In Solidarity,
Nayvin Gordon                 gordonnayvin@yahoo.com























Courage to Resist
Hi Bonnie. Courage to Resist is working closely with our new fiscal sponsor, the Objector Church, on a couple projects that we're excited to share with you.
objector registry
Objector Registry launches as draft registration of women nears
The first ever Objector Registry (objector.church/register) offers a declaration of conscience for anyone to assert their moral opposition to war, regardless of age, gender, or religious affiliation. This serves to create a protective record of beliefs and actions with which to oppose a later forced draft. Given last week's release of the report by the Congressionally mandated commission on military service, this free registry is coming online just in time. Please sign up yourself and share with friends!
weekly meetup
You're invited to join us online weekly
This is a great way to find out more about the Objector Church and why we might be the religious humanist interfaith peace and justice community you have been looking for! Our live meetups are lead by Minister James Branum from Oklahoma City. This Sunday at 5pm Pacific / 8pm Eastern, if your not excited by the NFL's "big game", pop online and check us out at objector.church/meetup
484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland, California 94610 ~ 510-488-3559
www.couragetoresist.org ~ facebook.com/couragetoresist




New "Refuse War" Shirts

We've launched a new shirt store to raise funds to support war resisters.

In addition to the Courage to Resist logo shirts we've offered in the past, we now  have a few fun designs, including a grim reaper, a "Refuse War, Go AWOL" travel theme, and a sporty "AWOL: Support Military War Resisters" shirt.

Shirts are $25 each for small through XL, and bit more for larger sizes. Please allow 9-12 days for delivery within the United States.

50% of each shirt may qualify as a tax-deductible contribution.

Courage to Resist -- Support the Troops who Refuse to Fight!
484 Lake Park Ave. #41, Oakland, CA 94610, 510-488-3559
couragetoresis.org -- facebook.com/couragetoresist







To: Indiana Department of Corrections

Kevin "Rashid" Johnson Should Have Access to His Personal Property

Petition Text

1. IDOC regulation 02-01-101-VIII must be respected! Kevin Johnson (IDOC# 264847) must be allowed to select from his property the items that he most immediately needs. He has been left without any of the material he requires for contacting his loved ones, his writing (this includes books), his pending litigation, and for his artwork. 
2. Kevin Johnson (IDOC# 264847) should be released into General Population. Prolonged solitary confinement is internationally recognized as a form of torture. Moreover, he has not committed any infractions.

Why is this important?

Kevin "Rashid" Johnson (IDOC# 264847) – a Virginia prisoner – was transferred to Indiana on November 4. His transfer was authorized under the Interstate Corrections Compact, commonly used to ship prisoners out of state. Virginia is one of several states that make use of this practice as a tool to repress and isolate prisoners who speak up for their rights.
These transfers are extremely disruptive, and serve as an opportunity for prison officials to violate prisoners' rights, especially regarding their property. This is exactly what has been done to Rashid.
Rashid has 24 boxes of personal property. These are all of his possessions in the world. Much of these 24 boxes consist of legal documents and research materials, including materials directly related to pending or anticipated court cases, and his list of addresses and phone numbers of media contacts, human rights advocates, outside supporters, and friends.
At Pendleton Correctional Facility, where Rashid is now being kept prisoner and in solitary confinement, only one guard is in charge of the property room. This is very unusual, as the property room is where all of the prisoners' belongings that are not in their cells are kept. The guard in charge, Dale Davis, has a dubious reputation. Prisoners complain that property goes missing, and their requests to access their belongings – that by law are supposed to be met within 7 days, or if there are court deadlines within 24 hours – are often ignored, answered improperly, or what they receive does not correspond to what they have asked for.
Despite having a need for legal and research documents for pending and anticipated court cases, his requests to receive his property have not been properly answered. The property officer, Dale Davis, is supposed to inventory the prisoners' property with them (and a witness) present, according to IDOC regulation 02-01-101-VIII; this was never done. When Rashid did receive some property, it was a random selection of items unrelated to what he asked for, brought to the segregation unit in a box and a footlocker and left in an insecure area where things could be stolen or tampered with.
On December 19th, Rashid received notice that Davis had confiscated various documents deemed to be "security threat group" or "gang" related from his property. Rashid has no idea what these might be, as (contrary to the prison regulations) he was not present when his property was gone through. Rashid does not know how much or how little was confiscated, or what the rationale was for its being described as "gang" related. None of Rashid's property should be confiscated or thrown out under any circumstances, but it is worth noting that the way in which this has been done contravenes the prison's own regulations and policies!
Dale Davis has been an IDOC property officer for 8 years. He has boasted about how he does not need any oversight or anyone else working with him, even though it is very unusual for just one person to have this responsibility. Prisoners' property goes "missing" or is tampered with, and prisoners' rights – as laid out by the Indiana Department of Corrections – are not being respected.
Rashid is not asking to have all of his property made available to him in his cell. He is willing to accept only having access to some of it at a time, for instance as he needs it to prepare court documents or for his research and writing. 
After two months in Indiana, he has still not been supplied with his documents containing the phone numbers and addresses of his loved ones and supporters, effectively sabotaging his relationships on the outside. Rashid is not asking for any kind of special treatment, he is only asking for the prison property room to follow the prison's own rules.
We ask that you look into this, and make sure that Mr. Johnson's right to access his property is being respected, and that something be done about the irregularities in the Pendleton property room. We ask that the rules of the Indiana Department of Corrections be respected.

Sign the petition here:

you can also hear a recent interview with Rashid on Final Straw podcast here: https://thefinalstrawradio.noblogs.org/post/tag/kevin-rashid-johnson/
Write to Rashid:
Kevin Rashid Johnson's writings and artwork have been widely circulated. He is the author of a book,Panther Vision: Essential Party Writings and Art of Kevin "Rashid" Johnson, Minister of Defense, New Afrikan Black Panther Party, (Kersplebedeb, 2010).

Kevin Johnson D.O.C. No. 264847
G-20-2C Pendleton Correctional Facility
4490 W. Reformatory Rd.
Pendleton, IN 46064-9001



Get Malik Out of Ad-Seg

Keith "Malik" Washington is an incarcerated activist who has spoken out on conditions of confinement in Texas prison and beyond:  from issues of toxic water and extreme heat, to physical and sexual abuse of imprisoned people, to religious discrimination and more.  Malik has also been a tireless leader in the movement to #EndPrisonSlavery which gained visibility during nationwide prison strikes in 2016 and 2018.  View his work at comrademalik.com or write him at:

Keith H. Washington
TDC# 1487958
McConnell Unit
3001 S. Emily Drive
Beeville, TX 78102
Friends, it's time to get Malik out of solitary confinement.

Malik has experienced intense, targeted harassment ever since he dared to start speaking against brutal conditions faced by incarcerated people in Texas and nationwide--but over the past few months, prison officials have stepped up their retaliation even more.

In Administrative Segregation (solitary confinement) at McConnell Unit, Malik has experienced frequent humiliating strip searches, medical neglect, mail tampering and censorship, confinement 23 hours a day to a cell that often reached 100+ degrees in the summer, and other daily abuses too numerous to name.  It could not be more clear that they are trying to make an example of him because he is a committed freedom fighter.  So we have to step up.

Phone zap on Tuesday, November 13

**Mark your calendars for the 11/13 call in, be on the look out for a call script, and spread the word!!**

- Convene special review of Malik's placement in Ad-Seg and immediately release him back to general population
- Explain why the State Classification Committee's decision to release Malik from Ad-Seg back in June was overturned (specifically, demand to know the nature of the "information" supposedly collected by the Fusion Center, and demand to know how this information was investigated and verified).
- Immediately cease all harassment and retaliation against Malik, especially strip searches and mail censorship!

Who to contact:
TDCJ Executive Director Bryan Collier
Phone: (936)295-6371

Senior Warden Philip Sinfuentes (McConnell Unit)
Phone: (361) 362-2300


Background on Malik's Situation

Malik's continued assignment to Ad-Seg (solitary confinement) in is an overt example of political repression, plain and simple.  Prison officials placed Malik in Ad-Seg two years ago for writing about and endorsing the 2016 nationwide prison strike.  They were able to do this because Texas and U.S. law permits non-violent work refusal to be classified as incitement to riot.

It gets worse.  Malik was cleared for release from Ad-Seg by the State Classification Committee in June--and then, in an unprecedented reversal, immediately re-assigned him back to Ad-Seg.  The reason?  Prison Officials site "information" collected by a shadowy intelligence gathering operation called a Fusion Center, which are known for lack of transparency and accountability, and for being blatant tools of political repression.

Malik remains in horrible conditions, vulnerable to every possible abuse, on the basis of "information" that has NEVER been disclosed or verified.  No court or other independent entity has ever confirmed the existence, let alone authenticity, of this alleged information.  In fact, as recently as October 25, a representative of the State Classification Committee told Malik that he has no clue why Malik was re-assigned to Ad-Seg.  This "information" is pure fiction.   



Listen to 'The Daily': Was Kevin Cooper Framed for Murder?

By Michael Barbaro, May 30, 2018

Listen and subscribe to our podcast from your mobile deviceVia Apple Podcasts | Via RadioPublic | Via Stitcher

The sole survivor of an attack in which four people were murdered identified the perpetrators as three white men. The police ignored suspects who fit the description and arrested a young black man instead. He is now awaiting execution.

On today's episode:
• Kevin Cooper, who has been on death row at San Quentin State Prison in California for three decades.



Last week I met with fellow organizers and members of Mijente to take joint action at the Tornillo Port of Entry, where detention camps have been built and where children and adults are currently being imprisoned. 

I oppose the hyper-criminalization of migrants and asylum seekers. Migration is a human right and every person is worthy of dignity and respect irrespective of whether they have "papers" or not. You shouldn't have to prove "extreme and unusual hardship" to avoid being separated from your family. We, as a country, have a moral responsibility to support and uplift those adversely affected by the US's decades-long role in the economic and military destabilization of the home countries these migrants and asylum seekers have been forced to leave.

While we expected to face resistance and potential trouble from the multiple law enforcement agencies represented at the border, we didn't expect to have a local farm hand pull a pistol on us to demand we deflate our giant balloon banner. Its message to those in detention:

NO ESTÁN SOLOS (You are not alone).

Despite the slight disruption to our plan we were able to support Mijente and United We Dream in blocking the main entrance to the detention camp and letting those locked inside know that there are people here who care for them and want to see them free and reunited with their families. 

We are continuing to stand in solidarity with Mijente as they fight back against unjust immigration practices.Yesterday they took action in San Diego, continuing to lead and escalate resistance to unjust detention, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and to ICE. 

While we were honored to offer on-the-ground support we see the potential to focus the energy of our Drop the MIC campaign into fighting against this injustice, to have an even greater impact. Here's how:
  1. Call out General Dynamics for profiteering of War, Militarization of the Border and Child and Family Detention (look for our social media toolkit this week);
  2. Create speaking forums and produce media that challenges the narrative of ICE and Jeff Sessions, encouraging troops who have served in the borderlands to speak out about that experience;
  3. Continue to show up and demand we demilitarize the border and abolish ICE.

Thank you for your vision and understanding of how militarism, racism, and capitalism are coming together in the most destructive ways. Help keep us in this fight by continuing to support our work.

In Solidarity,
Ramon Mejia
Field Organizer, About Face: Veterans Against the War

P.O. Box 3565, New York, NY 10008. All Right Reserved. | Unsubscribe
To ensure delivery of About Face emails please add webmaster@ivaw.org to your address book.



Major George Tillery
April 25, 2018-- The arrest of two young men in Starbucks for the crime of "sitting while black," and the four years prison sentence to rapper Meek Mill for a minor parole violation are racist outrages in Philadelphia, PA that made national news in the past weeks. Yesterday Meek Mills was released on bail after a high profile defense campaign and a Pa Supreme Court decision citing evidence his conviction was based solely on a cop's false testimony.
These events underscore the racism, frame-up, corruption and brutality at the core of the criminal injustice system. Pennsylvania "lifer" Major Tillery's fight for freedom puts a spotlight on the conviction of innocent men with no evidence except the lying testimony of jailhouse snitches who have been coerced and given favors by cops and prosecutors.

Sex for Lies and Manufactured Testimony
For thirty-five years Major Tillery has fought against his 1983 arrest, then conviction and sentence of life imprisonment without parole for an unsolved 1976 pool hall murder and assault. Major Tillery's defense has always been his innocence. The police and prosecution knew Tillery did not commit these crimes. Jailhouse informant Emanuel Claitt gave lying testimony that Tillery was one of the shooters.

Homicide detectives and prosecutors threatened Claitt with a false unrelated murder charge, and induced him to lie with promises of little or no jail time on over twenty pending felonies, and being released from jail despite a parole violation. In addition, homicide detectives arranged for Claitt, while in custody, to have private sexual liaisons with his girlfriends in police interview rooms.
In May and June 2016, Emanuel Claitt gave sworn statements that his testimony was a total lie, and that the homicide cops and the prosecutors told him what to say and coached him before trial. Not only was he coerced to lie that Major Tillery was a shooter, but to lie and claim there were no plea deals made in exchange for his testimony. He provided the information about the specific homicide detectives and prosecutors involved in manufacturing his testimony and details about being allowed "sex for lies". In August 2016, Claitt reaffirmed his sworn statements in a videotape, posted on YouTube and on JusticeforMajorTillery.org.
Without the coerced and false testimony of Claitt there was no evidence against Major Tillery. There were no ballistics or any other physical evidence linking him to the shootings. The surviving victim's statement naming others as the shooters was not allowed into evidence.
The trial took place in May 1985 during the last days of the siege and firebombing of the MOVE family Osage Avenue home in Philadelphia that killed 13 Black people, including 5 children. The prosecution claimed that Major Tillery was part of an organized crime group, and falsely described it as run by the Nation of Islam. This prejudiced and inflamed the majority white jury against Tillery, to make up for the absence of any evidence that Tillery was involved in the shootings.
This was a frame-up conviction from top to bottom. Claitt was the sole or primary witness in five other murder cases in the early 1980s. Coercing and inducing jailhouse informants to falsely testify is a standard routine in criminal prosecutions. It goes hand in hand with prosecutors suppressing favorable evidence from the defense.
Major Tillery has filed a petition based on his actual innocence to the Philadelphia District Attorney's Larry Krasner's Conviction Review Unit. A full review and investigation should lead to reversal of Major Tillery's conviction. He also asks that the DA's office to release the full police and prosecution files on his case under the new  "open files" policy. In the meantime, Major Tillery continues his own investigation. He needs your support.
Major Tillery has Fought his Conviction and Advocated for Other Prisoners for over 30 Years
The Pennsylvania courts have rejected three rounds of appeals challenging Major Tillery's conviction based on his innocence, the prosecution's intentional presentation of false evidence against him and his trial attorney's conflict of interest. On June 15, 2016 Major Tillery filed a new post-conviction petition based on the same evidence now in the petition to the District Attorney's Conviction Review Unit. Despite the written and video-taped statements from Emanuel Claitt that that his testimony against Major Tillery was a lie and the result of police and prosecutorial misconduct, Judge Leon Tucker dismissed Major Tillery's petition as "untimely" without even holding a hearing. Major Tillery appealed that dismissal and the appeal is pending in the Superior Court.
During the decades of imprisonment Tillery has advocated for other prisoners challenging solitary confinement, lack of medical and mental health care and the inhumane conditions of imprisonment. In 1990, he won the lawsuit, Tillery v. Owens, that forced the PA Department of Corrections (DOC) to end double celling (4 men to a small cell) at SCI Pittsburgh, which later resulted in the closing and then "renovation" of that prison.
Three years ago Major Tillery stood up for political prisoner and journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal and demanded prison Superintendent John Kerestes get Mumia to a hospital because "Mumia is dying."  For defending Mumia and advocating for medical treatment for himself and others, prison officials retaliated. Tillery was shipped out of SCI Mahanoy, where Mumia was also held, to maximum security SCI Frackville and then set-up for a prison violation and a disciplinary penalty of months in solitary confinement. See, Messing with Major by Mumia Abu-Jamal. Major Tillery's federal lawsuit against the DOC for that retaliation is being litigated. Major Tillery continues as an advocate for all prisoners. He is fighting to get the DOC to establish a program for elderly prisoners.
Major Tillery Needs Your Help:
Well-known criminal defense attorney Stephen Patrizio represents Major pro bonoin challenging his conviction. More investigation is underway. We can't count on the district attorney's office to make the findings of misconduct against the police detectives and prosecutors who framed Major without continuing to dig up the evidence.
Major Tillery is now 67 years old. He's done hard time, imprisoned for almost 35 years, some 20 years in solitary confinement in max prisons for a crime he did not commit. He recently won hepatitis C treatment, denied to him for a decade by the DOC. He has severe liver problems as well as arthritis and rheumatism, back problems, and a continuing itchy skin rash. Within the past couple of weeks he was diagnosed with an extremely high heartbeat and is getting treatment.
Major Tillery does not want to die in prison. He and his family, daughters, sons and grandchildren are fighting to get him home. The newly filed petition for Conviction Review to the Philadelphia District Attorney's office lays out the evidence Major Tillery has uncovered, evidence suppressed by the prosecution through all these years he has been imprisoned and brought legal challenges into court. It is time for the District Attorney's to act on the fact that Major Tillery is innocent and was framed by police detectives and prosecutors who manufactured the evidence to convict him. Major Tillery's conviction should be vacated and he should be freed.

Major Tillery and family

    Financial Support—Tillery's investigation is ongoing. He badly needs funds to fight for his freedom.
    Go to JPay.com;
    code: Major Tillery AM9786 PADOC

    Tell Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner:
    The Conviction Review Unit should investigate Major Tillery's case. He is innocent. The only evidence at trial was from lying jail house informants who now admit it was false.
    Call: 215-686-8000 or

    Write to:
    Security Processing Center
    Major Tillery AM 9786
    268 Bricker Road
    Bellefonte, PA 16823
    For More Information, Go To: JusticeForMajorTillery.org
    Kamilah Iddeen (717) 379-9009, Kamilah29@yahoo.com
    Rachel Wolkenstein (917) 689-4009, RachelWolkenstein@gmail.com




    On Monday March 4th, 2019 Leonard Peltier was advised that his request for a transfer had been unceremoniously denied by the United States Bureau of Prisons.

    The International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee appreciates and thanks the large number of his supporters who took the time to write, call, email, or fax the BOP in support of Leonard's request for a transfer.
    Those of us who have been supporting Leonard's freedom for a number of years are disappointed but resolute to continue pushing for his freedom and until that day, to continue to push for his transfer to be closer to his relatives and the Indigenous Nations who support him.
    44 years is too damn long for an innocent man to be locked up. How can his co-defendants be innocent on the grounds of self-defense but Leonard remains in prison? The time is now for all of us to dig deep and do what we can and what we must to secure freedom for Leonard Peltier before it's too late.
    We need the support of all of you now, more than ever. The ILPDC plans to appeal this denial of his transfer to be closer to his family. We plan to demand he receive appropriate medical care, and to continue to uncover and utilize every legal mechanism to secure his release. To do these things we need money to support the legal work.
    Land of the Brave postcard-page-0

    Please call the ILPDC National office or email us for a copy of the postcard you can send to the White House. We need your help to ask President Trump for Leonard's freedom.

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    Free Leonard Peltier!

    Art by Leonard Peltier
    Write to:
    Leonard Peltier 89637-132
    USP Coleman 1,  P.O. Box 1033
    Coleman, FL 33521



    Working people are helping to feed the poor hungry corporations! 
    Charity for the Wealthy!





    1) Profitable Giants Like Amazon Pay $0 in Corporate Taxes. Some Voters Are Sick of It.
    "Mr. Robertson, the carpet cleaner, has his own idea: nationalizing the companies. 'I think forcing them to pay higher alone is inefficient,' he said, 'and taxation alone is inefficient.'"
    By Stephanie Saul and Patricia Cohen, August 29, 2019

    Members of the Akron chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America spent two hours recently talking over a framework for a post-capitalist society.CreditCreditAllison Farrand for The New York Times

    AKRON, Ohio — Colin Robertson wonders why he pays federal taxes on the $18,000 a year he makes cleaning carpets, while the tech giant Amazon got a tax rebate.
    His concerns about a tilted economic playing field recently led Mr. Robertson to join the Akron chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America. At a gathering this month, as members discussed Karl Marx and corporate greed over chocolate chip cookies, it wasn't long before talk turned to income inequality and how the government helps the wealthy avoid taxes.
    "One of the benefits of taxation is taking it and using it for the collective good," said Mr. Robertson, 25, comparing his minimal income to the roughly $150 billion net worth of Jeff Bezos, Amazon's chief executive and the world's richest person.
    "He could be taxed at 99.9 percent and still have millions left over," Mr. Robertson said, "and I'd be homeless."

    It's a topic that several presidential candidates, led by Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, have hammered recently as they travel the campaign trail, spurred by a report that 60 Fortune 500 companies paid no federal taxes on $79 billion in corporate income last year. Amazon, which is reported to be opening a center in an abandoned Akron mall that will employ 500 people, has become the poster child for corporate tax avoidance; last year it had an effective tax rate of below zero — receiving a rebate — on income of $10.8 billion.
    For decades, profitable companies have been able to avoid corporate taxes. But the list of those paying zero roughly doubled last year as a result of provisions in President Trump's 2017 tax bill that expanded corporate tax breaks and reduced the tax rate on corporate income.
    "Amazon, Netflix and dozens of major corporations, as a result of Trump's tax bill, pay nothing in federal taxes," Mr. Sanders said this month during a Fox News town hall-style event. "I think that's a disgrace."

    Corporations' ability to whittle down their tax bills has long been a target of criticism by Democrats, and this presidential campaign is no exception, particularly among left-wing candidates who argue that corporations should be accountable for wage inequality and its impact on low- and middle-income workers.

    Though both parties have sought to lower the top corporate tax rate in the last decade — President Barack Obama proposed lowering it from 35 percent to 28 percent — Republicans in 2017 pushed it down to 21 percent, in addition to expanding some generous tax breaks. The new law allowed immediate expensing of capital expenditures, for example, in order to goose investment. That was one of the primary reasons that more corporations paid no federal taxes, according to the report.
    Mr. Trump and his Republican allies argued that the tax changes would stimulate investment and economic growth. That has happened, though not by as much as they predicted.
    Here in Ohio, even though unemployment has hit an 18-year low, several counties still have jobless rates significantly higher than the national rate, 3.8 percent, and the statewide rate, 4.4 percent. Ohioans have witnessed so many factory closures over the years that they seem to live with a permanent sense of economic wariness. The question for Democrats is how to leverage that to their advantage as they try to retake the state, which Mr. Trump won by 8 percentage points in 2016.
    David Betras, the Democratic chairman in Mahoning County, a traditionally blue stronghold of union voters that President Trump nearly carried in 2016, said that Democrats had not yet figured out how to use the economic angst of laid-off employees and minimum-wage workers to defeat Mr. Trump in Ohio in 2020.
    "Believe it or not, if you listen to the president, he addresses that issue," Mr. Betras said. "He does it with a lot of smoke and very many mirrors, but he's at least talking about how good the economy is and what I've done for you. 'I'm with you. I have your back.'"
    Even as candidates focus on corporate taxation, Mr. Betras said the issue didn't resonate with voters in the same way as more familiar topics like health care or immigration. (Mr. Betras, a lawyer, has endorsed Representative Tim Ryan of Ohio for the Democratic nomination.)

    Gallup poll last fall suggested that taxes were generally a more important issue for Republicans than for Democrats.

    In an election in which Democrats will seek to win back voters who supported Mr. Obama in 2008 and 2012, then switched to Mr. Trump, some worry that calls to increase corporate taxes might turn off swing voters in this critical state, those like Thomas Chhay, a student at the University of Akron.
    "I lean Republican," Mr. Chhay, 18, said recently while having lunch at the university's student union. "I agree with corporate tax cuts unless the companies ship the jobs overseas."
    The list of profitable companies that pay no corporate taxes, compiled by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, a left-leaning think tank, also includes Goodyear and three other Ohio companies, including the Akron-based electric utility FirstEnergy.
    FirstEnergy paid no taxes last year on $1.5 billion in income, according to the analysis, and will receive additional tax credits that can be used in the future. In a win for consumers, some of that will be returned to the utility's customers.

    Several of the Democratic candidates have called for changes to the corporate system, and Ms. Warren has gone the furthest in issuing a detailed plan. Under her proposal, corporations would pay a new 7 percent tax on every dollar over $100 million in profits they earn anywhere in the world. She estimated the new tax would apply to roughly 1,200 companies and bring in $1 trillion over 10 years.

    Under Ms. Warren's plan, Amazon would have paid $698 million instead of $0 in federal taxes for 2018. In a statement, the company said it "pays all the taxes we are required to pay in the U.S. and every country where we operate." (In a separate statement, Netflix said that it did, indeed, pay federal taxes in 2018.)
    Mr. Sanders, in his 2016 presidential campaign and in this one, has routinely talked about closing loopholes and capturing some of the billions in profits that multinationals have kept overseas in tax havens.
    Amy Klobuchar, the Minnesota senator who is also running, has taken a different approach. She has tied a proposed increase in the corporate tax rate, to 25 percent from the current 21 percent, to plans to rebuild bridges, roads and airports. About $400 billion of her trillion-dollar infrastructure plan would be financed by the tax increase.
    Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who officially entered the race on Thursday, has not issued a formal proposal on corporate taxes. In remarks last May, however, he blamed a "yawning" income gap for tearing the country apart. "We have to deal with this tax code," he said. "It's wildly skewed toward taking care of those at the very top."
    In surveys, more Americans support raising the corporate tax rate than lowering it or leaving it unchanged. And several Democratic candidates, like the former housing secretary Julián Castro, invoke "fair share" rhetoric in speeches or vow to undo the recent Republican tax law. Others, like Senator Kamala Harris of California, have focused more on the individual income tax and reducing the burden on working families.
    But raising the headline tax rate on corporations won't eliminate the corporate zero-rate club, which also results from companies taking advantage of loopholes and the way global profits are taxed.
    Two years ago, Mr. Trump appeared at a rally in working-class Youngstown, the seat of Mahoning County, and delivered a message full of economic reassurance.

    "I was looking at some of those big, once incredible job-producing factories," the president said. "Those jobs have left Ohio. They're all coming back. They're all coming back. Don't move. Don't sell your house."
    In Ohio, it has not entirely worked out that way.
    General Motors, one of the companies on the zero-tax list, recently idled a large plant near Youngstown that produced the Chevrolet Cruze, a decision that helped increase the company's stock price even as G.M. paid no federal taxes on $4.32 billion in income.

    "What was promised to these people was more jobs," said David Green, president of United Auto Workers Local 1112, which represents workers at the plant, which is in Lordstown. "When you give them the tax break and they take the jobs away, that's like a double whammy. That's a lose-lose."
    Lordstown is in Trumbull County, where the unemployment rate was 6.6 percent in March and many of those who work are eligible for public assistance.
    Tyler Savin, a real estate agent, said the idling of the plant had added to his home listings and that many sellers wouldn't get their asking prices as they left Ohio for other G.M. locations.
    Mr. Savin, 22, was among the customers recently at Tommy Dogg's Bar and Grill in nearby Niles, the birthplace of both Mr. Ryan, the local favorite-son candidate, and William McKinley, a Republican president who was known for imposing tariffs on foreign goods.

    Mr. Savin likes Mr. Sanders, Mr. Biden and former Representative Beto O'Rourke of Texas, but will ultimately vote for whoever the Democratic nominee is, he said in a whisper lest pro-Trump patrons overhear.
    "I think corporations should pay their taxes, like Amazon," he said. But he said health care and support for abortion rights were more important to him.
    Jeff Williams, 57, who manages a convenience store on the midnight shift, had heard about Amazon's tax breaks on the radio. As he sat outside his home in Niles, he also was doing some comparison.
    He was treated for cancer, heart disease and two hernias last year but wasn't able to deduct his expenses, he said. Amazon, meantime, availed itself of a full suite of tax breaks. "Amazon doesn't pay taxes, but I pay taxes," Mr. Williams said.
    Akron, about an hour west, is faring better economically. Mayor Daniel Horrigan won't confirm or deny it, but Amazon is believed to be the company he has recruited to move into the old Rolling Acres Mall, which closed in 2008. Amazon would not comment on whether it planned to open a facility there.
    Mr. Horrigan has been working to invigorate the economy of Akron, historically known as the Rubber City for its role in tire manufacturing. The tire jobs have mostly moved elsewhere.
    Goodyear, which made the list of 60 by paying no federal corporate income taxes, employs 64,000 people worldwide, but only 3,000 of them remain here, mostly in the company's headquarters. A spokesman said the company's 2018 tax situation stemmed from "historical losses in U.S. operations."

    The Democratic Socialists have close to 100 members in Akron, many of them supporters of Mr. Sanders. Those attending this month's meeting ranged from a stay-at-home mother who said she hadn't been able to pay her water bill for a year to a college professor, David Pereplyotchik.
    Mr. Pereplyotchik, 37, said he believed the group should come up with a viable alternative to the American corporate tax and wage system.
    "If we're fighting for something, what version of the thing are we fighting for?" asked Mr. Pereplyotchik, who teaches philosophy. "It seems like if you just make them pay employees more, they're just not going to hire employees."
    Mr. Robertson, the carpet cleaner, has his own idea: nationalizing the companies. "I think forcing them to pay higher alone is inefficient," he said, "and taxation alone is inefficient."


    7)   Sixty Profitable Fortune 500 Companies Avoided All Federal Income Taxes in 2018
    By Matthew Gardner, Steve Wamhoff, Mary Martellotta, Lorena Roque, April 11, 2019
    Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy

    For decades, profitable Fortune 500 companies have manipulated the tax system to avoid paying even a dime in tax on billions of dollars in U.S. profits. This ITEP report provides the first comprehensive look at how corporate tax changes under the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act affect the scale of corporate tax avoidance. The report finds that in 2018, 60 of America's biggest corporations zeroed out their federal income taxes on $79 billion in U.S. pretax income. Instead of paying $16.4 billion in taxes at the 21 percent statutory corporate tax rate, these companies enjoyed a net corporate tax rebate of $4.3 billion.

    Companies Represent Diverse Economic Sectors

    The companies avoiding income taxes in 2018 represent a range of segments of the U.S. economy:
    • Computer maker International Business Machines (IBM) earned $500 million in U.S. income and received a federal income tax rebate of $342 million.
    • The retail giant Amazon reported $11 billion of U.S. income and claimed a federal income tax rebate of $129 million.
    • The streaming service Netflix paid no federal income tax on $856 million of U.S. income.
    • Beer maker Molson Coors enjoyed $1.3 billion of U.S. income in 2018 and received a federal income tax rebate of $22.9 million.
    • Automaker General Motors reported a negative tax rate on $4.3 billion of income.

    All 60 companies' effective federal income tax rates for 2018 are shown in the table at: https://itep.org/notadime/

    Companies' Low Taxes Stem from a Variety of Legal Tax Breaks

    Companies profiled in this report appear to be using a diverse array of legal tax breaks to zero out their federal income taxes:

    Accelerated Depreciation

    Chevron, Delta Airlines, Duke Energy, Halliburton, Dominion Resources, Jetblue, Ryder, Owens Corning, Devon Energy and Ameren used accelerated depreciation, a tax break that allows companies to write off the cost of their capital investments much faster than these investments wear out, to dramatically reduce their tax rates. Chevron reported $290 million of depreciation-related tax breaks in 2018, and Halliburton reduced its taxes by $320 million. As a group, these companies reduced their taxes by $8 billion using depreciation-related tax breaks. Accelerated depreciation is supposed to encourage business investment, but a recent ITEP report explains why it is unlikely to achieve that goal.[1] The new tax law expands this break to allow corporations to deduct the entire cost of a capital investment during the first year.

    Stock Options

    Amazon reduced its income taxes by more than $1 billion in 2018 using a tax break for stock options. A June 2016 Citizens for Tax Justice report found that 315 companies in the Fortune 500 disclosed receiving benefits from this tax break, which allows companies to write off stock-option related expenses in excess of the cost they reported to shareholders and the public.[2] Netflixreduced its income taxes by $191 million using this tax break. Salesforce.com reported $137 million of stock option tax benefits. Activision Blizzard reported $58 million of stock option tax breaks, with Honeywell close behind at $52 million. DeereRockwell Collins and Performance Food Group each reduced their income taxes by $20 million using stock options in 2018, and half a dozen other companies on this list reported smaller stock option tax breaks.

    Fossil Fuel Tax Subsidies

    Oil and gas tax breaks including depreciation and percentage depletion helped Pioneer Natural Resources zero out its federal income taxes on $1.2 billion of U.S. income in 2018. Occidental Petroleum used the enhanced oil recovery credit to reduce its taxes by $158 million last year.

    Alternative Energy Tax Subsidies

    A number of companies took advantage of alternative-energy tax breaks as well. Duke Energy enjoyed $129 million in renewable energy production tax credits in 2018. The so-called Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 expanded these credits. DTE Energy reduced its taxes by $223 million using production tax credits.  WEC Energy reported $12 million in production tax credits, and Xcel Energy claimed $75 million in wind production tax credits. CMS Energy also reported renewable electricity production tax credits of $14 million, and Dominion Energy claimed $21 million.

    Tax Credits

    US Steel used percentage depletion to cut its taxes by $48 million in 2018. Dominion Energy claimed about $59 million of investment tax credits.
    Rockwell Collins enjoyed $60 million in research and development tax breaks in 2018. Netflix reported $140 million in R&D credits, Activision Blizzard enjoyed $46 million, and Deere reported $43 million. CMS Energy also reported R&E credits. The R&E tax credit has been criticized for rewarding companies for "research" they would have done anyway, as well as rewarding research in areas such as fast food packaging and, in the case of Activision, video games. [3]
    Prudential Financial reduced its income taxes by $111 million using low-income housing and other credits in 2018, and Eli Lilly claimed $87 million of various business credits.

    Vague Financial Disclosures Sometimes Prevent Full Diagnosis of Corporate Tax Avoidance Strategies

    All data cited in this report come from the 10-K annual financial filings published by these companies. In many cases, the company's disclosures don't fully clarify which tax breaks were used. For example, Chevron's annual report for 2018 discloses that unspecified "tax credits" reduced the company's income taxes by $163 million. General Motors' disclosure of $695 million of "general business credits and manufacturing incentives" leaves unclear what fraction of those tax breaks apply to U.S. income taxes. Salesforce.com disclosed $132 million of "tax credits." International Business Machines tells us that "domestic incentives" reduced their income taxes by about $110 million in 2018. US Steel discloses using $71 million of "tax credits" last year, while Amazon discloses $419 million of "tax credits." And Principal Financial discloses that "tax credits" reduced its worldwide income tax rate by 3 percentage points in 2018. None of these disclosures are sufficiently clear to allow analysts, policymakers or the public to understand which features of the tax law are responsible for these companies' tax avoidance.
    There is, to be clear, nothing obviously illegal about the vague language these companies use to describe their tax provisions. Giving the public a clear sense of how companies are reducing taxes has never been a central goal of the annual financial reports published by these companies, nor has it been a priority of the Securities and Exchange Commission, which mandates publicly traded companies publish these reports. Achieving a full understanding of how companies are avoiding taxes would require that Congress, or the SEC, require a higher standard of tax disclosure by publicly traded firms.

    True Corporate Tax Reform Should Start with the Hard Questions: Which Tax Loopholes Will Be Repealed?

    In the run-up to the tax reform debate of late 2017, the basic outline of U.S. tax avoidance was well known to federal lawmakers. Reports from ITEP, as well as various government agencies, had documented how Fortune 500 companies were using legal tax breaks to shelter close to half of their income from federal taxes, meaning that even with a 35 percent tax rate the yield of our corporate tax was low and getting lower. But when Congress and the Trump Administration pushed through a technically flawed set of corporate tax changes as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) in December of 2017, the new law cut the statutory tax rate to 21 percent, while leaving intact most of the tax breaks that allowed profitable companies to zero out their income taxes. The result, unsurprisingly, has been a continued decline in our already-low corporate tax revenues: in fiscal 2018, U.S. corporate tax revenues fell by 31 percent, according to U.S. Treasury data. This was a more precipitous decline than in any year of normal economic growth in U.S. history.
    As this report demonstrates, it's easy to see which tax breaks are responsible for allowing our biggest and most profitable corporations to avoid income taxes. Lawmakers interested in enacting true tax reform should critically assess the costs of each of existing tax break—including those discussed in this report—and take steps to ensure that profitable corporations pay their fair share of U.S. taxes.
    At a time when the public's confidence in our elected officials and our institutions is especially low, the specter of big corporations avoiding all income taxes on billions in profits sends a strong and corrosive signal to Americans: that the tax system is stacked against them, in favor of corporations and the wealthiest Americans. Sustainable corporate tax reform that focuses on eliminating tax loopholes and shoring up revenues could help allay these fears and can be a vital tool for addressing our nation's fiscal priorities and making critically needed public investments in our nation's future.
    [1] Steve Wamhoff and Richard Phillips, The Failure of Expensing and Other Depreciation Tax Breaks, Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, November 19, 2018. https://itep.org/the-failure-of-expensing-and-other-depreciation-tax-breaks/
    [2] Citizens for Tax Justice, "Fortune 500 Corporations Used Stock Option Loophole to Avoid $64.6 Billion in Taxes Over the Past Five Years," June 9, 2016. https://www.ctj.org/fortune-500-corporations-used-stock-option-loophole-to-avoid-64-6-billion-in-taxes-over-the-past-five-years/
    [3] Citizens for Tax Justice, "Reform the Research Tax Credit — Or Let It Die," December 4, 2013. https://www.ctj.org/new-ctj-report-reform-the-research-tax-credit-or-let-it-die/

    2) U.N. Issues Urgent Warning on the Growing Peril of Drug-Resistant Infections
    A new report says the overuse of antimicrobial drugs in humans, animals and plants is fueling resistant pathogens that could kill 10 million people annually by 2050.
    By Andrew Jacobs, April 29, 2019

    Women wash clothes just outside a river polluted with sewage and waste in the Kibera neighborhood of Nairobi, Kenya. The rate of drug-resistant infections in the community is high.CreditCreditAndrew Renneisen for The New York Times

    With more and more common medications losing their ability to fight dangerous infections, and few new drugs in the pipeline, the world is facing an imminent crisis that could lead to millions of deaths, a surge in global poverty and an even wider gap between rich and poor countries, the United Nations warned in a report on Monday.
    Drug-resistant infections already claim 700,000 lives a year, including 230,000 deaths from drug-resistant tuberculosis, the report said. The rampant overuse of antibiotics and antifungal medicines in humans, livestock and agriculture is accelerating a crisis that is poorly understood by the public and largely ignored by world leaders. Without concerted action, a United Nations panel said, resistant infections could kill 10 million people annually by 2050 and trigger an economic slowdown to rival the global financial crisis of 2008.
    The problem threatens people around the world. During the next 30 years, the United Nations experts said, 2.4 million people in Europe, North America and Australia could die from drug-resistant infections, making routine hospital procedures like knee-replacement surgery and child birth far riskier than they are today.

    "This is a silent tsunami," said Dr. Haileyesus Getahun, director of the U.N. Interagency Coordination Group on Antimicrobial Resistance, which spent two years working on the report. "We are not seeing the political momentum we've seen in other public health emergencies, but if we don't act now, antimicrobial resistance will have a disastrous impact within a generation."

    The group, a collaboration of public health experts, government ministers and industry officials, called for the creation of an independent body with the stature and funding of the United Nations' panel on climate change.

    The report's dire predictions seek to raise public awareness and shake political leaders into action. It proposes a series of measures that health officials say could help stem the rise of drug-resistant pathogens. The recommendations include a worldwide ban on the use of medically important antibiotics for promoting growth in farm animals; financial incentives for drug companies to develop new antimicrobial compounds; and more stringent rules to limit the sale of antibiotics in countries where drugs can often be bought at convenience stores without a prescription.
    [Read our series Deadly Germs, Lost Cures.]
    The report also highlights underappreciated factors in the spread of drug-resistant germs: the lack of clean water and inadequate sewage systems that sicken millions of people in the developing world. Many of them are too poor to see a doctor and instead buy cheap antibiotics from street vendors with little medical expertise. Sometimes they unknowingly purchase counterfeit drugs, a problem that leads to millions of deaths, most of them in Africa.
    To reduce outbreaks of infectious disease, the report says, wealthier nations should help poor countries pay for improvements to public hygiene, and ensure greater access to vaccines and properly manufactured antibiotics.

    Health officials are struggling to understand the scope of the problem because many countries are ill-equipped to monitor drug-resistant infections. In a survey the United Nations conducted for the report, 39 of 146 nations were unable to provide data on the use of antimicrobials in animals, which experts say is a major driver of resistance in humans as resistant bacteria get transferred to people through contaminated food and water.
    "We are flying pretty blind and working hard to get some clear vision," said Sally Davies, the chief medical officer of England and a leader of the United Nations panel.
    As a first step, the report calls on member states of the United Nations to create national stewardship plans to reduce the unnecessary use of antimicrobials.
    A key element of the report is a call for new incentives to encourage the development of antimicrobial medicines. Between 2010 and 2014, six new antimicrobial drugs were approved, most of them additions to existing drug classes, according to the World Health Organization. By contrast, 19 new antimicrobial drugs were approved between 1980 and 1984.
    The dearth of new drugs is tied to the perverse economics of antimicrobial resistance and the free market. It can cost a half-billion dollars to develop a new compound, but doctors are discouraged from using the drugs to reduce the possibility that the targeted pathogens will become resistant. Even when doctors prescribe the drugs, most patients take them for a week or two, limiting a drug company's ability to earn back its initial investment. 
    "Everyone agrees that there is an absolute need for new antibiotics but there is no sustainable market," said Thomas Cueni, director general of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations.
    Incentives to develop new drugs could include generous government financing for research, or regulatory changes that would increase reimbursements for newly approved antibiotics considered medically important. According to the World Bank, such investments would quickly pay for themselves; it notes that containing antimicrobial resistance costs $9 billion annually.

    "I applaud the U.N. for at least putting incentives on the map, but there needs to be more than talk," said Mr. Cueni, who also chairs the AMR Industry Alliance, a trade group working to address the problem of antimicrobial resistance. "What's needed is money."
    Still, many public health advocates said the report was an important step in elevating a crisis that has failed to garner the attention of other global problems like climate change and AIDS. 
    Lance Price, director of the Antibiotic Resistance Action Center at George Washington University, said he worried the report might not gain much traction with the Trump administration, which has been averse to multilateral cooperation.
    Fear, he said, was the key to changing the status quo.
    "Even if you don't care about the suffering of people who drink unclean water and get resistant infections, you still have to recognize that these bacteria don't recognize international borders," he said. "They will come here, and they will kill us. We have to let people know that the problem is closer than they think."
    Andrew Jacobs is a reporter with the Health and Science Desk, based in New York. He previously reported from Beijing and Brazil and had stints as a Metro reporter, Styles writer and National correspondent, covering the American South. @AndrewJacobsNYT


    3) Would You Let the Police Search Your Phone?
    We are much more likely to give consent than we think.
    By Roseanna Sommers and Vanessa K. Bohns, April 30, 2019

    CreditCreditMark Pernice

    Law enforcement officers on the doorstep threatening to "come back with a warrant" is a cliché of police procedural dramas. Things are much less dramatic in real life: The officers ask if they can take a look around, and the civilians say yes without putting up a fight.
    A key question in so-called "consent -search" cases is why people so readily agree to allow intrusions into their privacy. The answer, as we argue in a forthcoming article in The Yale Law Journal, is that psychologically, it's much harder to refuse consent than it seems. The degree of pressure needed to get people to comply is shockingly minimal — and our ability to recognize this fact is limited.

    The legal standard for whether a consent search is voluntary — and thus whether any contraband police discover is admissible in court — is whether a reasonable person would have felt free to refuse the officers' request. Courts tend to judge the voluntariness of consent by looking for clear markers of coercion. Did the officer phrase the request as a demand, instead of a question? Were weapons drawn? If not, the search is likely to be deemed voluntary.

    But this approach misunderstands the psychology of compliance. It takes much less pressure than it seems to secure people's acquiescence. Police don't need to use weapons to get people to accede to their requests; they just need to ask. Our research shows that a simple, polite face-to-face request is harder to refuse than we think.

    To test how the psychology of compliance operates, we recruited hundreds of participants to the lab. We approached half of them with a polite but audacious request: "Before we begin the study, can you please unlock your phone and hand it to me? I'll just need to take your phone outside of the room for a moment to check for some things."
    For the other half, we asked what a reasonable person would do if hypothetically approached by the same experimenter with the same request.
    Our control group, who merely imagined the interaction, said that most people would refuse to hand over the phone: Only 14 percent thought a reasonable person would let us search the phone, and only 28 percent said they would yield their phone to a stranger. But when we actually approached people, 97 percent handed over their phone.
    In addition, these participants reported feeling significantly more pressured to comply than the control group imagined feeling. The fact is, saying no is more difficult, and rarer, than we realize. We believe this same dynamic plays out the in the law surrounding consent searches.
    To be sure, saying no to a police officer is different from a saying no to an experimenter in a laboratory study. So we also tested whether people underestimate the pressure to comply with the police as well.
    We recruited a separate group of survey respondents and offered them a monetary bonus if they could predict how often drivers grant consent when stopped by the police. According to traffic data, upward of 90 percent of drivers say yes when the police ask to search their car. But our survey respondents' average guess was far lower: They thought that only about 65 percent of drivers say yes. Again, people vastly understated compliance.
    This tendency to underappreciate the power of social influence is one of the most enduring and important findings in all of social psychology. In Stanley Milgram's famous studies on obedience, for instance, research participants were willing to heed an experimenter's instructions to administer dangerous electric shocks to an innocent, protesting victim.
    Mr. Milgram showed that normal people would commit violent acts — not because they were sadists, but because they were loath to disobey an authority figure's directives. This was a result that no one, including expert psychologists, expected.
    Critics of consent searches have also been approaching the issue in the wrong way. Groups like the American Civil Liberties Union have focused on advocating that the police be required to notify citizens of their right to refuse consent, much as the police are required to read custodial suspects their Miranda rights. But this is unlikely to address the psychological factors at play.
    In another study, we tested what happens when we tell people they "have the right to refuse"the request to search their phone. We found that this notification altered people's beliefs about the consequences of refusal, but it did not change how free they felt to refuse. Nor did it reduce the rates at which they handed over their phone to us — a result consistent with previous studies that have found negligible effects of Miranda warnings on the rates at which suspects confess to crimes.
    The failure of "know your rights" interventions makes sense if you think about the psychology behind police-citizen interactions. Telling people about their rights addresses information deficits, but the real reason people comply is social, not informational. The social imperatives to comply with a police officer's request persist even when people are properly informed of their rights or given a consent form to sign — or just asked politely.
    Roseanna Sommers is a lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School. Vanessa K. Bohns in an associate professor of organizational behavior at the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell.

    4) If Politicians Can't Face Climate Change, Extinction Rebellion Will
    A new movement is demanding solutions. They may just be in time to save the planet.
    "Young people even in rich countries like America and Britain, terrified of what the world will look like when they are in their 50s and the current governing elites are safely dead, are increasingly willing to embrace extraordinary measures. In both countries, more young people are questioning or rejecting capitalism itself."
    By David Graeber, May 1, 2019

    Extinction Rebellion members during climate protests in London last week.CreditCreditFrank Augstein/Associated Press

    On April 15, thousands of activists from a movement called Extinction Rebellion started occupying several sites in central London, shutting down major roads and demanding the country's politicians take immediate, drastic action in the face of climate change. 
    For more than a week, the streets were awash with an infectious sort of hope. Beyond the potent symbol of popular power represented by their presence in the heart of the city, activists and passers-by had the chance to experiment with collective politics. Yes, there were camera-worthy stunts and impossible-to-ignore disruptions of business as usual. But people also assembled, broke into discussion groups and returned with proposals. If the government wasn't talking about the climate, Extinction Rebellion would lead by example. 
    The action was the crest of a wave that arguably began with the high school walkouts over the climate that had been sweeping Europe since late last year, and it was remarkable for including thousands of citizens — many from small towns with no experience of radical politics — who were willing, sometimes even eager, to risk arrest. 
    Their demands were, and are, simple. First, that the government declare a state of emergency and "tell the truth" about the global situation — that thousands of species are in danger of extinction, that there is a very real possibility that human life itself may eventually follow. Second, that Britain set a goal to eliminate all carbon emissions by 2025, and third, that the specifics of this emergency program be worked out not from above, but through the creation of citizens' assemblies.

    Amid simmering public anger over dissatisfaction with government inaction on the climate, the protests changed the public conversation so quickly and so widely that politicians have been forced to take notice and meet with activists they could once have safely ignored. 
    The apparent paralysis of the forces of order in the face of what looked a lot like a nonviolent uprising merely echoes the paralysis of the government itself. For months now, Parliament has largely abandoned the business of government entirely, unable to resolve the question of how and whether Britain will leave the European Union, yet at the same time seemingly unable to seriously discuss, let alone legislate, anything else. But the squabbling and endless recriminations in Westminster are just a particularly farcical version of a global phenomenon. The world's political classes are, increasingly, rendering themselves almost completely irrelevant in the eyes of their constituents.
    Police officers on April 17 carrying away an Extinction Rebellion protester who was blocking Oxford Circus in central London. 
    CreditNeil Hall/EPA, via Shutterstock

    Nowhere is this more obvious than in the case of climate change. Scientists agree that humanity faces an existential threat. The global public overwhelmingly agrees with them. Young people even in rich countries like America and Britain, terrified of what the world will look like when they are in their 50s and the current governing elites are safely dead, are increasingly willing to embrace extraordinary measures. In both countries, more young people are questioning or rejecting capitalism itself.
    To many of us, pretty much anything seems better than carrying on as usual, unto disaster. If ever a time called for grand visions, this is it. Yet politicians almost everywhere seem unable to think beyond the next election. The kind of vision in public works and collaboration that no more than a few generations ago created the United Nations, welfare states, space programs and the internet now seems inconceivable to the richest and most powerful governments on earth, even if the very fate of the planet depends on it.

    How did this happen?
    The last 30 years or so have seen a kind of war on the very idea of visionary politics. Where '60s rebels called for "all power to the imagination," the consensus of the opinion makers who took over as those social movements sputtered has been precisely the opposite: The very idea of unleashing the human imagination on political life, we are consistently told, can lead only to economic misery, if not the gulag. 
    And as left and right both look to the past — the one toward midcentury welfare states and the other, darkly, toward xenophobia and nationalism — the collapsing center warns us to fear political passion of any sort. It's all so much irrational "populism" — a term now used to tar anyone who objects that all key decisions affecting their lives should be made by technocrats trained in neoclassical economic theory. Yet the technocrats have so far proved utterly incapable of addressing the climate crisis.
    If real passion and vision are necessary, they will have to come from outside the system. The activists who assembled and debated in London recognized that the goal of zero emissions in six years would require huge social and economic dislocation. But the very daunting nature of the task seemed to call out creative solutions.
    These took many forms, from new mass transport systems to four- or even three-day work weeks, green industrial revolutions, spiritual awakenings and the replacement of the discipline of economics and its exhortations toward endless growth with a new science based on principles that rise to the challenges of a changing climate. Many of these ideas might seem ridiculous. Some no doubt are. But with scientists warning us we may have precious little time before rates of planetary warming lead to irreversible consequences, the one thing that seems clear is that refusal to engage in this kind of imaginative exercise is the real danger.
    Threatened with irrelevance, some politicians have started to respond. In Britain, the opposition Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn has now proposed that the first of Extinction Rebellion's demands, a national state of climate emergency, be put to a vote in Parliament as early as Wednesday. Whether the motion is successful or not, it represents a previously difficult-to-imagine acknowledgment of the crisis. 
    It's just barely possible that Britain, the nation that ushered in the Industrial Revolution and its explosive carbon emissions, might also be the first to make a serious effort to undo the damage.
    But if the government can't bring itself to do so, the people will have to. With any luck, they'll be just in time to save the planet.
    David Graeber is an anthropologist, political activist and the author of "Debt: The First 5,000 Years."

    5) Game of Drones
    What honeybees have to teach us about the fate of the earth — and our country.
    By Jennifer Finney Boylan, May 1, 2019

    CreditCreditEgon69/E+, via Getty Images

    Jon Snow was looking for the queen. There had been a lot of bloodshed. I asked him about the day he'd discovered all the corpses. "That day was horrible," he said. "There was sadness."
    This wasn't "Game of Thrones."
    We were wearing bee suits, Professor Snow and I, standing on the roof of Barnard Hall, home to Barnard College's departments of English and dance. And 20,000 honeybees.
    My Barnard colleague Jon Snow, professor in the biology department, was showing me his beehives, started anew after a traumatic failure of a colony in late winter.

    My hope was to learn about the threats to bees. What I left with was an insight into the threats to democracy.

    First, he used a smoker to pacify the bees, so that we wouldn't get stung. Then he pulled out one of the racks in the hive, and there they were: 500 or 600 European honeybees, Apis mellifera. I saw the worker bees, building the comb. I saw the drones, flatter and broader, and with much bigger eyes. And there, in all her glory, was the queen, getting ready to lay an egg. 
    "The way we refer to bees," Professor Snow said, "it's like there's a power structure, with the queen at the top. But that's not the case. Bees make decisions as a group, sort of a collective consciousness."
    He pointed me toward a book titled "Honeybee Democracy," by Tom Seeley. Professor Seeley, something of a legend among apiarists, is part of the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior at Cornell University, where he has studied what he calls "swarm intelligence" — the way groups can sometimes be smarter than any of their individual members (as opposed to what I guess you'd call "swarm stupidity," which is what seems to be at the heart of American life right now, and of our lives on social media not least).
    Honeybees aren't like Targaryens or Lannisters; their primary concern is survival of their society, not the attainment of raw power. And while the queen plays a unique role, the workers manage to make group decisions about where to forage, by means of something called the waggle dance.
    Professor Snow pointed out a waggle dancer, and I watched in wonder as the bee moved around in a figure-eight pattern. The direction the bee dances in, relative to the hive and to the angle of the sun, indicates the direction of food; the duration of the dance indicates distance.

    Dancing bees also make group decisions about the future of the colony. When a new queen is born, the old queen leaves her hive with 10,000 bees to form a daughter colony. For a few hours — or days — they remain homeless, gathered in a swarm.
    During this time the bees do an amazing thing: They hold a democratic debate on where to go next.
    In the swarm phase, scouts head out in search of a new hive location, and they return to advertise the possibilities through their dance. Other bees go to check out these places, and if they concur, they will repeat the dance. Amazingly, in time the bees seem to come to a consensus on the best choice, not through blind repetition of another's dance but by heading out and finding out the truth for themselves, and then weighing in — voting, I guess we'd call it — by way of the dance.
    Professor Seeley suggests that, the waggle notwithstanding, the process resembles a New England town meeting, decisions getting made as a result of conversation and consensus.
    Human beings are not insects, and our country is not a beehive. But the democracy of bees contains plenty of good lessons in civics. Among the most important takeaways: that facts about the environment matter; that the colony most likely to survive is one in which all voices are listened to; and that the worst kind of leader is a vain, narcissistic being who values his or her own royalty above that of the community.
    Even in the best of scenarios, the lives of bees are fragile, and now more than ever, with their habitat under constant threat. Four of Professor Snow's hives died this winter because of wild variation in the climate. But with these new colonies, his work continues — work that investigates how honeybees respond to environmental stress at a cellular level.
    As we left the roof of Barnard Hall, trailing the smell of wax and smoke, it was hard not to be impressed by the urgency of his research, science which may well help determine whether human life on Earth will endure.
    I met Professor Snow on a beautiful spring day: trees in bloom, bees hovering over the newly opened flowers. It was a good day to consider what kind of colony we reside in — an intelligent swarm? Or the other kind?
    It is, at long last, spring. But winter is coming.
    Jennifer Finney Boylan, a contributing opinion writer, is a professor of English at Barnard College and the author of the novel "Long Black Veil." @JennyBoylan

    6) Julian Assange Sentenced to 50 Weeks and Still Faces U.S. Charges
    By Illana Magra, May 1, 2019

    Julian Assange leaving Southwark Crown Court in London in a security van on Wednesday after he was sentenced.CreditCreditMatt Dunham/Associated Press

    LONDON — A British court sentenced Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, to 50 weeks in prison on Wednesday for jumping bail when he took refuge in Ecuador's Embassy in London seven years ago.
    His complex legal travails are far from over: The United States is seeking Mr. Assange's extradition for prosecution there, and an initial hearing on that request is expected on Thursday. Officials in Sweden have left open the possibility that he could face criminal charges in that country, as well.
    Mr. Assange faces a charge of conspiracy to hack into a Pentagon computer network; a federal indictment accuses him of helping an Army private to illegally download classified information in 2010, much of it about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which WikiLeaks then made public. He has denied the charge.

    Mr. Assange, 47, was arrested on April 11 after the Ecuadorean government withdrew its protection of him and allowed the police to take him out of the embassy in London, where he had lived since 2012. The same day, he appeared in court and was convicted on the charge of skipping bail.

    Mr. Assange, who is being held in Belmarsh Prison in East London, argued that he should not be jailed for the offense, because he was effectively imprisoned in the embassy. On Wednesday, in Southwark Crown Court in London, Judge Deborah Taylor rejected that claim.
    "It's difficult to envisage a more serious example of this offense," she told Mr. Assange, British news organizations reported. "By hiding in the embassy you deliberately put yourself out of reach, while remaining in the U.K."
    Before he was sentenced, the court heard an apology letter by Mr. Assange, in which he said that he was "struggling with difficult circumstances."
    "I did what I thought at the time was the best or perhaps the only thing that I could have done," he said, according to British news reports. "I regret the course that that has taken."

    His legal odyssey began in 2010, when prosecutors in Sweden sought to question him about alleged sexual assaults there, which he denies. Eventually, he had to post bail to remain free while fighting extradition to Sweden, which he insisted would then send him to the United States.
    Protesters in London on Wednesday before Mr. Assange was sentenced.CreditMatt Dunham/Associated Press

    After exhausting his appeals in the British courts, rather than submit to extradition, Mr. Assange took refuge in Ecuador's embassy, violating the terms of his bail. Ecuador granted him asylum and, eventually, citizenship.
    He continued his work from the embassy, and in 2016, WikiLeaks released thousands of emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee and the personal account of John D. Podesta, the chairman of Hillary Clinton's campaign, intending to harm her candidacy. The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, concluded that the emails were stolen by Russian intelligence agents, which Mr. Assange denies.
    The 2010 release of Pentagon records was made possible by Chelsea Manning, then known as Bradley Manning, the Army private who would later serve around seven years in prison for taking them. The indictment against Mr. Assange says he did not merely publish the material provided by Ms. Manning, but helped her in the hacking, which he disputes.
    Mr. Assange insists that the government is seeking retribution for his exposure of misconduct and deception by American troops and officials.
    Swedish prosecutors eventually dropped the case against Mr. Assange, calling it pointless to pursue it, but said they could revive it if he became available. Nevertheless the bail-jumping charge, and the threat of extradition to the United States, still hung over him.
    Last month, Ecuador revoked his asylum and citizenship, citing a list of grievances that had made him an unwanted house guest, ranging from recent WikiLeaks releases to alleged ill manners, threats, hacking aimed at Ecuador, and abuse of embassy staff members and facilities.
    Ecuador stopped sheltering Mr. Assange after "his repeated violations to international conventions and daily-life protocols," President Lenin Moreno said in a statement on Twitter.
    But Mr. Assange didn't go easily: He resisted arrest and had to be restrained by British police officers, who struggled to handcuff him.
    "This is unlawful, I'm not leaving," he told them, according to the account given at the Westminster Magistrates Court, where Mr. Assange appeared later that day. In the end, he had to be dragged out of the embassy.
    Mr. Assange, a man accustomed to celebrity and internet culture, has long fascinated and divided popular opinion: To supporters, he is a martyr for the cause of free speech, but others see him as a publicity-seeking criminal with strong ties to the Kremlin.
    He has indicated that he would fight extradition, and the process promises to be a long one, further extending his saga.


    7) ‘Every Day I Fear’: Asylum Seekers Await Their Fate in a Clogged System
    President Trump wants to discourage asylum claims, as immigration courts deal with a backlog of more than 800,000 cases. Here are four of them.
    By Miriam Jordan and Jose A. Del Real, May 1, 2019

    Asylum seekers at the bus station in San Antonio.CreditCreditCallaghan O'Hare for The New York Times

    They traveled thousands of miles and endured dangerous — and at times unimaginable — conditions on their journeys. They fled domestic violence, vengeful gangs, political opposition and laws that made their lives unbearable. 
    In droves, migrants have arrived at the United States’ southern border claiming to have fled oppressive conditions in their home countries. Today, more than 800,000 await proceedings that could put them on the path to American citizenship.

    But in a memo this week intended to discourage migrants — most of whom began their treks in Central America — President Trump ordered sweeping changes to the asylum process, an already byzantine system in which asylum seekers often wait years for their cases to be adjudicated because of a bottleneck in the immigration courts.

    Among the directives: Asylum seekers would have to pay a fee to apply. And those who entered the country illegally would be barred from receiving work permits while their cases were adjudicated, which Mr. Trump said must happen within 180 days.
    It could be months before the measures, which are likely to face legal challenges, take effect. Although only a small number of applicants ultimately win asylum, the orders could hurt those with legitimate claims, said critics of the directives.
    We asked four people who are awaiting asylum hearings about their cases, and how they have fared in the United States. 
    Name, age, country: Wendy, 27, El Salvador
    Asylum claim: Wendy said she and her son were sexually assaulted by gang members in retaliation for her brother’s cooperation with law enforcement.
    Time in the United States: Three years
    Work permit: Yes
    In 2015, Wendy fled to the United States with her three children, including her 2-month-old daughter; she said she and her oldest child had been tied up and raped by gangs.

    Wendy had to undergo reconstructive anal surgery, she said, and her son, who was 8 at the time, was severely traumatized. He continues to suffer from psychotic episodes and depression, which have led him to engage in acts of self-harm, she said. His hand bears scars from cutting himself with a plastic soda bottle.
    In February, an immigration judge approved her asylum case, pending the completion of a biometric examination. Once her case is finalized, Wendy and her three children will be eligible for permanent legal residency in the United States.

    Wendy and her eldest child at their home.CreditHannah Yoon for The New York Times

    “Oh my God, I cried of joy. I felt so happy. I felt grateful,” said Wendy, who asked that neither her last name nor her son’s name be published, for fear that her family could face retribution from MS-13 gang members. “We would die if we were forced to return to El Salvador. We had the need for protection from this country.”
    According to current immigration regulations, asylum seekers are entitled to legally work in the United States once their asylum application has been pending for 180 days.
    Wendy, who packs fruits and vegetables, said that working while her case was under review has meant feeding her family, paying rent and affording medication for her son.
    Wendy’s lawyer, Eileen Blessinger, said that many of her clients would have to rely on friends, family and charity if they were prohibited from working. Lack of income poses barriers to retaining a lawyer and obtaining a driver’s license, and it compels people to work in the underground economy, she said.

    Name, age, country: Mamadou, 41, Guinea
    Asylum claim: Mamadou was a high-profile activist who was targeted by the opposition party in his country, and whose family endured violence as a result of his political opinions.
    Time in the United States: Five years
    Work permit: Yes
    Government soldiers in Guinea who were determined to capture Mamadou poured scalding oil on his baby when they came searching for him in his family’s home in 2015, he claimed. Mamadou was already in the United States, where he had applied for asylum.
    If the activist, who lives in the Bronx, wins his case, his family can join him. But three years later, his case has not yet been reviewed by a judge.
    “Every second, every day I fear for the safety of my child and wife,” said Mamadou, who asked that his last name be withheld out of concern for his family. “I am very distressed. So much time has already passed, and the situation in my country is only getting worst.”
    His lawyer, Carmen Maria Rey, is confident that her client has a strong claim, if only it would be adjudicated.
    Name, age and country: Denis Davydov, 32, Russia
    Asylum claim: Mr. Davydov, who is gay and H.I.V. positive, left his country because L.G.B.T. individuals face increasingly harsh treatment there. 
    Time in the United States: Four and a half years
    Work permit: Yes
    Mr. Davydov, who is living in San Jose, Calif., has been waiting since the spring of 2015 for his asylum case to be heard. Two years ago, he was detained by customs agents who believed he had overstayed his visa. He was held in detention in Miami for 45 days before he was released. His next hearing is scheduled for July.

    He said being an L.G.B.T. individual in Russia put him at risk of increasingly harsh treatment, from everyday discrimination on the street to threats and beatings. He said he had also struggled to receive adequate treatment for his illness.
    “I was told in a clinic they could not give me any medication because they didn’t have them. It was the last straw. It was devastating,” he said. “As a teenager, I was always questioned and bullied for being gay. And I was beaten. But all these laws started coming in. Before you could hide, but now, everywhere, it is the most popular topic. It became just a nightmare.”
    Today, Mr. Davydov works as a certified sommelier.
    “It makes me so happy,” he said. “It is my dream.”
    Name, age, country: Maria Meza, 40, Honduras
    Asylum claim: Violence against her family.
    Time in the United States: Four months
    Work permit: No
    Maria Meza was seeking a safe haven from gang violence in Honduras when she decided to journey north with a migrant caravan to Tijuana, Mexico, late last year.
    In December, Ms. Meza and two of her daughters were among hundreds of asylum seekers who were tear gassed by the Border Patrol as they approached the border. Officials said that the officers fired tear gas because the migrants were mounting an assault.

    A photograph of Ms. Meza and her children fleeing plumes of tear gas went viral. Ultimately, she and her children were allowed to enter the United States through a port of entry at Otay Mesa, Calif., where they requested protection in the United States with the assistance of lawyers and members of Congress.

    Maria Meza ran away from tear gas with her 5-year-old twin daughters, Saira, left, and Cheili, right, in front of the border fence between the United States and Mexico, in Tijuana in November.CreditKim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters

    Immigration authorities fitted Ms. Meza with an ankle monitor to track her movements and issued her a notice to appear in court — on a date that has not been scheduled — so that she could formally request asylum.
    She has been reporting every two weeks to Immigration and Customs Enforcement as required. However, until her case is filed with the court, she is not eligible for a work permit.
    “I ask God to give me an opportunity for asylum,” she said in an interview. While she waits, churches, synagogues and community organizations have provided her with financial assistance. “Without the support of all these people, I would be going hungry.”

    Miriam Jordan is a national immigration correspondent. She reports from a grassroots perspective on the impact of immigration policy. She has been a reporter in Mexico, Israel, Hong Kong, India and Brazil. @mirjordan  Facebook


    8) Julian Assange Appears in Court for U.S. Extradition Hearing
    By Megan Specia and Iliana Magra, May 2, 2019

    Julian Assange leaving Southwark Crown Court in London on Wednesday after he was sentenced to 50 weeks for bail-jumping.CreditCreditFacundo Arrizabalaga/EPA, via Shutterstock

    LONDON — Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, appeared in a British court on Thursday for an initial hearing on whether he will be extradited to the United States to face prosecution in connection with one of the most serious leaks of classified material in American history.
    Mr. Assange, 47, made a brief appearance by video link in Westminster Magistrates Court in London from Belmarsh Prison in another part of the city. A day earlier, he had been sentenced to 50 weeks in prison for bail-jumping.
    The hearing on Thursday lasted just a few minutes, in which Mr. Assange told the judge that he did not wish to surrender himself to be prosecuted in the United States for what he called “journalism that has won many awards,” according to The Associated Press. His next hearing, in what promises to be a long extradition fight, is scheduled for May 30.

    The American indictment against him stems from a leak in 2010 of hundreds of thousands of classified documents, mostly related to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, that proved damaging and embarrassing for the United States and its allies. Mr. Assange faces a charge of conspiring with the former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manningto hack into a Pentagon computer network, a crime punishable by up to five years in an American prison.

    Around two dozen activists gathered outside the court to protest against his potential extradition, waving signs that read “Free Julian Assange” and “Is this all just about shutting us all up?” as they demanded his release.
    The case has fueled debate about whether the prosecution of Mr. Assange infringes on the American Constitution’s First Amendment right to freedom of speech. He says that he acted as a journalist in publishing material leaked by Ms. Manning to WikiLeaks and that he had nothing to do with the hacking.
    But the Justice Department says Mr. Assange helped Ms. Manning break a code to gain access to the classified network.
    Ms. Manning was convicted of espionage in an American court and received a 35-year prison sentence. She spent nearly seven years behind bars before her punishment was commuted by President Barack Obama in 2017.

    Legal experts say that Mr. Assange could face additional charges if extradited but that the extradition process could take years. The WikiLeaks founder has long fought against being transferred to the United States, citing comments from officials in Washington calling for the death penalty to be considered for his crimes.
    Mr. Assange holed up in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London for seven years to avoid being extradited to Sweden to face sexual assault allegations. He called himself a political refugee, claiming that Sweden would send him to the United States.
    Swedish prosecutors have not closed the door on charges there.
    Mr. Assange was arrested last month after the government of Ecuador suspended the asylum and citizenship that it had granted him.
    Speaking outside the courtroom on Wednesday, a day before the hearing on Mr. Assange’s potential extradition to the United States, Kristinn Hrafnsson, WikiLeaks’ editor in chief, called it the start of a “big fight.”
    “What is at stake there could be a question of life or death for Mr. Assange,” he told reporters. “It is also a question of life and death for a major journalistic principle.”
    Cristina Navarrete, 66, was among the crowd of supporters outside the court on Thursday. She called the hearing “a mockery” because no members of the public were allowed into the courtroom, though some journalists were admitted.

    “They chose a small court on purpose, it’s basically a secret trial,” Ms. Navarrete said in the packed foyer outside the guarded doors of the court.
    “If he is extradited, we’ll be very disappointed in the British justice system,” she added.
    Ben Brandon, a prosecutor working for the United States government who was in the Westminster court on Thursday, said that even if Mr. Assange were to complete his British prison sentence before a decision on the American extradition request, he would remain in custody. In that situation, he could apply to be released on bail until a final decision on extradition, Mr. Brandon said.
    After the hearing, Jennifer Robinson, Mr. Assange’s lawyer, said the American charge would cause a “massive chill on investigative journalism.”
    “No democratic nation would behave this way,” she said.


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